The San Francisco 49ers had a spectacular season in 2011, exceeding all expectations. En route to capturing the No. 2 seed in the NFC as one of the top teams in all of football, many Niners players had standout seasons. Perhaps none moreso than Justin Smith, who made history when the AP 2011 NFL All-Pro Team selections were announced.
Smith does not play a historically flashy position, nor is his performance in 2011 augmented by gaudy numbers. But the 3-4 defensive end played a tremendous year and his team benefited greatly from his continued presence on the field. Aldon Smith, for example, came up just 0.5 sacks short of the all-time rookie record for sacks, largely due to Smith being around, clearing paths.
The voters for the All-Pro Team were certainly taking notice, however. Smith was named to the First Team as defensive tackle and named to the Second Team as a defensive end.
49ers PR Director Bob Lange shared some factoids on Twitter Friday night about the unprecedented nature of the vote:
The All-Pro selections are based on a 4-3 defense, which is why Smith ended up primarily as a DT after the vote. Smith does play at defensive tackle when the Niners run with the nickel defense.
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